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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  September 12, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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it's briinthe future it's been a hard day here in see life in the best light. [music] d.c. >> absolutely. transitions® lenses automatically filter just justice correspondent joe johns, we appreciate it, sir. the right amount of light. thank you very much. i'm don lemon, appreciate you so you see ething the way it's meant to be seen. watching here today. i'll be back here tomorrow. experience life well lit, wolf, of course brooke is doing ask for transitions adap lense the morning show. i'll be here. now it's time for "the situation room" and mr. wolf blitzer. don, thanks very much. happening now, sources tell cnn the attack that killed four americans including the top u.s. diplomat in libya was planned in advance. we're also talking with the people behind the controversial anti-muslim film igniting (train horn) protests that the attackers may have used for cover. vo: wherer orains go, we're also watching an important political dimension to this thecnorfolsouthern.life. one line, story. infinite possibilities. mitt romney's immediate criticism of president obama's international policies. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." jack cafferty has more on
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the violent attack both libya and egypt. jack. >> well, so much for the arab spring, or is it? the waf otests sweeping dramatic developments parts of the middle east of unfolding. let's begin with some important north africa i which the people new developments in the attacks on u.s. facilities in both fought to oust dictators doesn't cairo, egypt. seem to have brought any of them and benghazi, libya. closer to a peaceful u.s. sources now tell cnn the society. libya and egypt are the latest example. years from now historians might attack in benghazi was actually even trace the origin of the planned in advance and the arab spring in addition to the perpetrators used a protest fruit vendor in tunisia who set outside the u.s. consulate in benghazi there simply as a himself on fire to the decision by george w. bush to attack iraq diversion. four americans died including in the wake of 9/11. the united states ambassador to go in, overthrow a dictator, libya chris stevens. turn the country over to the our foreign affairs people and presto. we have been relatively correspondent, jill dougherty, quiet in cairo until this. well, violence continues in iraq has been working her sources to get a better idea on exactly and people die there everyday. what happened. president obama visited the these are live pictures you're our senior international egypt's now in the hands of the seeing coming out of cairo right state department to ensure now. not far from the u.s. embassy in correspondent nic robertson is muslim brotherhood. mubarak's gone. they had elections there. diplomats their presence is cairo. monitoring the search for who's and yesterday violent mobs protesters now starting fires appreciated. he also is firing back at mitt and they're moving from the responsible. assaulted the u.s. embassy romney, who blasted the and our pentagon correspondent embassy area towards tahrir chris lawrence is keeping tabs on the u.s. military's response compound. in libya moammar gadhafi's gone. administration's response to the protest. square, which all of us are i want to bring in our white to what's going on as well. familiar with, what was going on let's go to jill first. house correspondent dan lothian. in egypt during the revolution, the u.s. ambassador and three he's traveling with the she's watching what's going on. other people are dead because jill, what's the latest over at some terrorists in that country president in las vegas. the overthrow of hosni mubarak.
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hey there, dan. the state department beyond the didn't like a movie critical of what do you have? heartbreak of a top u.s. islam. syria's become a slaughter house diplomat, three others killed? >> well, what a day for the but it looks like the violence president. some very forceful comments from >> right, wolf. the president today in reaction just in a few minutes we're murdering the civilian to the violence in libya. coming back 24 hours after expecting an update, a briefing population at will. protesters stormed the embassy, iran continues the march toward the president mincing no words, on background by senior officials here at the state nuclear weapons. went over those 50-foot wall, i don't want to even think what condemning the violence and department. might happen if they get them. talking about how the u.s. would got inside, started burning down but for now this is what we know and al qaeda is busy based on the conversations and work with the libyan government what we are hearing from u.s. reconstitutes itself in pakistan the american flag and replacing and half a dozen other them with a black banner, to make sure those responsible for the violence will be brought countries. the song writer who wrote the to justice. officials. now a little bit of time line involving some stupid film tuesday night at the u.s. here. phrase, wishing won't make it the president, we're told, consulate in benghazi, a complex according to a senior so, spot-on. and anybody who thinks the produced here in the united states. and highly dangerous situation. administration official did learn last night that the egyptian authorities are now on middle east is suddenly going to the scene. outside an anti-american they've launched tear gas to try transform itself into a peaceful ambassador stevens was protest. then a group of heavily armed to repel some of these unaccounted for. it was this morning the civilization where majority protesters. i don't know exactly, we're just militants, approximately two rules, they just haven't been president found out that, in dozen of them, launched an reading the history books. fact, he had passed away. beginning to get information here's the question, is the arab so the president first releasing about what's going on. attack firing rocket propelled a statement, then appearing a very, very disturbing spring worth it? grenades. >> the attack in libya is -- go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post development in the egyptian before the cameras at the white capital where it's now house where he did deliver approaching 2:00 a.m. in the appears to be a very coordinated a comment on my blog. remarks taking two key points. morning over there. so it's in the middle of the military-style attack. or go to our post on the "the this was not a demonstration night, but the protests gone bad. situation room" facebook page. >> you heard mitt romney today obviously continuing right now. this was a clear, targeted, we're staying on top of this that's the reference to the express concern that arab spring story. once again, these are live planned event. >> reporter: according to senior was turning out to be an arab controversial film that sparked u.s. officials, that ignited a winter. all of this violence and then fire inside the nsulate. jack, a good question. the president condemning is >> i think mr. romney may have pictures comeing in from cairo t american and-securliy done himself a lot of damage senseless violence. the u.s. embassy. as you pointed out, the this is one of the largest u.s.
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president also stopping off at embassies, diplomatic missions today. in the world. personnel officials say we're forced to fight on two fro >> we're going to have much more until the embassy of baghdad was on this part of the story later the state department where he the attackers on the outside, met with employees there for as the political fallout is built and until that embassy significant as well. about 15 minutes or so talking the fire inside. about the important role of diplomic sou are binning standby. those in the foreign service and to piece toer what happened tuesday's deadly attack on the praising ambassador stevens. became huge in baghdad. u.s. consulate in libya came next. officials tll cnn ambaador the libyan ambassador is here amid regional fury over a film >> there's a broader lesson to chris stevens in benghazi on a mocking islam and the prophet with kate. short visit from the capital when you see these pictures and tripolalong with sean smit a be learned for. you've been to cairo many times, ten-year veteran of the state governor romney has a tendency what do you say? what's going on right now? to shoot first, name later. department in libya trasignmente as president one of the things we thought the arab spring was i've learned is you can't do that. going to lead to a peaceful room along with a le sety it's important for you to make muhammad. >> a libyan government official sure that the statements that movement, but it looks like the officer. but the ro became filled with says the protests in benghazi you make are backed up by the situation in your country as smoke. were at least partially keked to facts and that you've thought the officer left the room they the film. through the ramifications before well as in egypt could get out u.s. sources are telling cnn you make them. of control. say, when he returned smith was >> do you think it was i that the people who attacked the >> i'm really sad to see this dead. ambassador stevens was missing. ambassador used the protest development in egypt and my outside the consulate as a one official says stevens and country. unfortunately, maybe some diversion. cnn just received a statement reasons behind that, but this is possibly others were trying to responsible? from some of the people involved >> i'll let the american people never justified what's happening escape to the roof. in this movie. the ambassador, he tells cnn, the statement reads as such "the judge that. >> that was an interview with in libya over what's happening entire cast and crew are cbs responding to comments by ultimately succumb to smoke extremely upset and feel taken mitt romney, who had been in any other place. advantage of by the producer. critical of the nation's inhalation. response to the region. there are democratic ways and in the chaos consulate staff we are 100% not behind this film going point of view. the president being very blunt attempted to enter the building in going after the gop nominee. we have to be civilized. to try and find and save the we have to express our position but the president also praising in the right way. men. secretary of state hillary and were grossly misled about other republicans who he said clinton praised the libyans who but nobody can justify what's waited to get all the facts she said helped fight off the its intent and purpose. happening in libya of course, at
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attackers and carried ambassador we are chock shocked by the before they spoke and the drastic rewrites of the script all. stevens' body to the hospital. and lies were told to all president essentially suggesting >> what do you say to the >> this was an attack by a small that when you have something american people who see this, involved. we are deeply saddened by the like this happen it's time to but at the same time, watching put politics aside. tragedys that have occurred. >> but it's never very far for the past two days or past that from the cast and crew of and savage group, not the people behind. dan lothian following the day, what all of the pictures or government of libya. this movie. president in las vegas where the we also spoke with a man who president will be doing a little coming in, feel a great >> reporter: at this point, identifies himself as a bit of campaigning later today. state department officials consultant on the film. disappointment in the fact that believe the attack was planned the film tied to the violence is the united states helped and got thanks, dan. >> and we'll have much more on involved in the arab spring and in advance but do not believe called "innocence of muslims." the up roar of at's going on pro democracy efforts. ambassador stevens was directly involving mitt romney's blast what do you say to the american people about this? targeted. against the president. >> well, it's very sad and very nicholas burns, a former top an amateurish crude production was it a mistake? i'll ask romney's foreign policy state department official tells of a thug where portions of difficult sometimes to explain dialogue are poorly dubbed in. this kind of incident which is cnn u.s. diplomats are facing an cnn is not airing any part of advis incendiary situation in the adviser. ó it. according to reports published happening now with really middle east. >> the cruel irony here is that appreciate and love what america in "the wall street journal" and did for us. the united states is the associated press, the well-regarded in libya. filmmaker is a real estate and libya and i think wn we and there's a moderate government in place. developer from california named and this is clearly the actions sam bacile. still optimisticn stive optimis? of an isolated and very small a man identifying himself as bacile told "the wall street but very vicious terrorist jonal" isl is a cancer. >> yeah, yeah. we couldn't find information >> mr. bdor, as w group. and so we've got to protect about him in checking data bases for hollywd productions or ourselves from those groups. and we've got to go after them. real estate records raising ththerth >> reporter: and, wolf, as i questions about whether the name sam bacile is apseudonym. said, we're expecting u.s. assador, momentarily a briefing background here at the state weoke to steve klein, who christopher stevens. department. there are a lot of details. our deepest, deepest condolences says he consultedith bacile on everyone that we talk to says the phone. to you, robert. that it was a very, very complex asked himbout bacile's when you you loved
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almost chaotic situation. reaction te vlence in fighting on the outside. libya and egypt. your stepson, give us a thought fire on the inside. >> he's very depressed. or two about what's going on and so we expect to have more he's upset. i talked tohim this ni. with your family and how you're details as we go along. dealing with all of this. he said that he was very >> and so far we've only been >> it's a terrible shock at told the names of chris stephens concerned for what happened to th ambassar. 11:00 last night. >> reporter:lein says bacile is worried about hisáow safety i'm also a survivor of ovarian a writand uterine cancers. we happen to have been in and sean smith. the other two they have not and is in hiding. wer ge bacile to speak i even wrote a play about that. released their names yet, is to us a we'reld he would that right? my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen >> yes. they were security officials. not. klein says he hasn't known yosimite and rushed home without >> not u.s. marines though? le for very long. and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. any sleep. he says bacile told him the film we're shattered. >> reporter: no. we understand were not marines. chris was a beautifully even they were security personnel. cost about $5 million to make if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, with at least 50 people in the tempered person and the 36 years >> let us know what happens at cast and crew. be brave, go to the doctor. this background briefing you're did you or mr. bacile have any that i was privileged to be his about to get. ifovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. and you'll update our viewers. sense that this film would cause standby for that. ncandwas r, i never saw him the fallout that it apparently symptoms are not the same for everyone. jill dougherty. has? let's go to nic robertson now in >> absolutely not. i got sick...and then i got better. and easy and people loved him london for more on who may have not onlythat, but because it's -- when i spoke to him, we been behind these attacks. nic has spent a lot of time in knew that it was going to cause some friction. with a wide variety, you can mix and match all day. he didn't impose his ideas on if anybody paid attention to it. scampi, grilled, the fried -- there's nothing better. them. libya as all of our viewers when we first showed it, nobody and he was interested in the know. nic, as you heard, initial [ male announcer ] at last, pers that he was talking to. paid any attention to it. red lobster's endless shrimp is back, reports indicated a mob got out after i went to hollywood and i of control. but now it's looking more like a but only for a limited time, for just $14.99. pretty sophisticated saw nobody went to it. and so, it was lovely. assassination plot in the works >> reporter: but if y knew it try as much as you like, any way you like, he was joyous person. would cause friction, could you no i guess, presuppose that it like new parmesan crusted shrimp for a long time whach. >> and he loved the libyan people. or new teriyaki grilled shrimp, he loved working there. what are you hearing? might causence in the all with salad and unlimited cheddar bay biscuits, he thought he was really doing >> reporter: wolf, we still mile eas
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can't say with certain knowledge if t things the something, didn't he? internet and go viral? for just $14.99. >> i was really pleased and so precisely who was responsible. >> that's t interesting point. but we do know last year the for example, when you started [ ryan ] they can try everything. they love it. head of al qaeda sent a top the terview,sk me if i i'm ryan isabell. was afraid to show my face here surprised because he was in tripoli before the rebellion and i'm a server for red lobster, and i sea food differently. libyan jihadist trusted or speak about th. lieutenant from afghanistan to so my question is, in america, i'm ryan isabell. [ dog ] we found it together.upbeat ] libya to set up an al qaeda why should be afraid? then in ben gghazi for six mont on a walk, walk, walk. love to walk. as u.s. envoy to the rebels and camp. we know from libyan government >> reporter:in say telm when he was sent back to tripoli officials whom i met with in merely shows what he calls the facts, evidence and yeah, we found that wonderful thing. june there that they've been as ambassador, he was very happy monitoring those camps. radical islam. but they don't have the power, klein says he's not anti-muslim. and you smiled. and threw it. about it. they don't have the security he wasn't looking for a soft do you and mr. bacile feel you and i decided i would never, ever leave it anywhere. structure to close those camps have any blood on your hands as touch. down. when the consulate was targeted he loved the libyan people and a result of the violence? and attacked on june 5th this >> that's a very good question. because that wonderful, bouncy, roll-around thing... under the rules of engagement in was passionate about helping. year, the group left behind vietnam when i killed a north had made you play. >> and the libyan ambassador of fliers saying that this was a and that... vietnamese army and the viet had made you smile. the united states, very quickly, revenge attack for the united mr. ambassador, just wants to kong, i'd go to bed every night states drone attack in the [ announcer ] beneful. play. it's good for you. with no blood on my hand. express his condolences. it does not bother me a bit. afghan/pakistan border region killing al qaeda's number two at in this case with the >> my apology, my deep ambassador, i did not kill these people. condolence to you and your it is they who pulled the trigger. it is they who murdered the the time, abu yahya al libi. family. brother to me, champion in the eyes of the libyan people. ambassador. >> now, on that vietnam al qaeda's leader issued a video reference, klein says he is a vietnam veteran, a former marine who served in combat there. statement saying that abut ya ya the man who stand by the revolution. >> and our deepest condolences, he says his own son was wounded ali by was dead and calling on by a suicide bomber in iraq libyans to attack and kill while working with the u.s. army
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americans. on a civil program there, wolf. robert, as well. so there is a correlation here for everything that ambassador >> i understand cnn also stevens did for the american that al qaeda perhaps -- has corresponding right now with one of the actresses in this people. mr. ambassador, thanks to you as so-called film. well. that's it for us. definitely established camps and >> that's right. our continuing coverage of perhaps has had a role in this my colleague miguel marquez has particular attack. spoken to her. what's going on, will resume it's not possible to say that. we cannot identify her by name when we come back. but we do know that they are or say where we spoke with her. operating in that part of libya, but essentially reiterated what wolf. >> and yesterday when i spoke to mike rogers, the chairman of the we saw in the statement from the cast and crew of this movie. house intelligence committee, he she did not know the movie was told me he has been briefed that there is an al qaeda presence, about the prophet muhammad and not only in libya but in tunisia as well. there was no character in the how significant, unclear right script and shocked by the film now. but it sounds like that al qaeda operation in libya is very, very made. >> thank you, brian todd. the attack in libya came part of real indeed. the presidential campaign all of this suggests to me, nic, narrative. mitt romney levels harsh that the attack yesterday on the u.s. ambassador and other criticism of the obama i was talking to my best friend. administration. response, was it premature? i told her i wasn't feeling like myself... we're going to take you through americans on the 11th a timeline of the events. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. i had pain in my pelvic area... and bleeding that wasn't normal for me. anniversary of 9/11 was not she said i had to go to the doctor. necessarily simply a coincidence. what are you hearing about that? turned out i had uterine cancer, a type of gynecologic cancer. >> reporter: it definitely doesn't seem to be a i received treatment and we're confident i'll be fine. coincidence, wolf. i mean, the indications point to please listen to your body. the fact that this group has been prepared. if something doesn't feel right for two weeks or longer,
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the concern has been -- we've see your doctor. been reporting this since the beginning of the year, even i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup get the inside knowledge about gynecologic cancers. naming some of the al qaeda but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. knowing can make all the difference in the world. members. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. one a former git mo detainee. but now she wants my recipe the protests were sparked by [ "the odd couple" theme playing ] [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? an amateur american film [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. they have space to operate inside libya because the libyans insulting the muslim prophet humans. can't close them down. [ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish, hammad. even when we cross our "t"s libyan officials say that u.s. the ebassy put out a stement impact life expectancy in the u.s., and dot our "i"s, we still run into problems -- drones have been monitoring ys it condemns theo mainly other humans. those camps at least since june real estate in hong kong, hurthe religious feelings of at liberty mutual insurance, we understand. this year. and the optics industry in germany? muslas we condemn efforts to offend believers of all that's why our auto policies come with at t. rowe price, we understand the connections religions. the ambassador the says she accident forgiveness if you qualify, but the problem that faces the of a complex, global economy. didn't approve the statement, where your rates won't go up due to your first accident, libyan authorities they say is it's just one reason over 70% of our mutual funds and the white house disevo beat their 10-year lipper average. it, but mitt romney went on t and new car replacement, where if you total fensive quickly. that they can only have been sort of able to monitor the t. rowe price. invest with confidence. your new car, we give you the money activity of these groups. >> it's neve too early for the for a new one. and these groups have grown request a prospectus or summary prospectus stronger. with investment information, risks, fees and expenses call... not just in the east of the united states government to to read and consider carefully before investing. to talk to an insurance expert about country but spreading throughout the region. condemn attacks on americans and everything else that comes standard and that's been al qaeda's to defend our values. strategy to try to take with our base auto policy. advantage of this arab spring the white house distanced itself [ tires squeal ] last night from the statement and if you get into an accident where there isn't strong saying it wasn't cleared by and use one of our certified repair shops, security, put down roots. washington. and the analysts have been your repairs are guaranteed for life. that reflects the mixed signals telling us that the attacks they they're sending to the world. call... feared were going to be al qaeda. not attacking libyans inside >> let's talk about all of this to switch, and you could save hundreds.
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with romney campaign policy lib libya, but attacking western adviser. interests using libya because former democratic congressman liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. it's close to europe as a base robert wexler who supports what's your policy? to attack, europe, western esident obama, he's joining us here. let me start with you and ask interests inside europe, wolf. the question, why did mitt >> explains why the u.s. now romney double down on the reducing diplomatically presence controversial statement that the campaign released last night? in benghazi as well as in the capital of tripoli. doubled down this morning even nic robertson, thanks very much. before we heard from the president of the united states? chris lawrence is joining us >> well, a few things, wolf, i now. he's got the latest on how the u.s. military is responding to think we all feel tremendous this unfortunate situation in sense of loss at the killing of libya. and the potential for a whole lot more trouble. ambassador stevens. what are you learning, chris? you've dealt with many career >> reporter: wolf, we can now foreign service officers and confirm that that u.s. marine quick reaction force has landed ambassadors, so have i. in libya. they don't get as much and they are now on the ground attention, but they're often right in the heat and the heart in tripoli. of the battle. also, the pentagon has notified this is another tragic example some american troops around the of that. as it relates to events over the last couple of days, you know, world that in the coming days, they may be moved also to just a reminder, wolf, of the chaos that a lot of the policies american embassies in different of this administration have parts of the world to try to beef up security for the showed. chaos in the arab spring. american diplomats working chaos where allies in israel abroad. the u.s. is in a fast reaction feel they can't rely on us.
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force of 50 marines to libya to you saw the flare up with israel "help with security and possible evacuations if needed." and the president. and as a policy matter, governor insurgents attacked the same u.s. mission in benghazi back in june. romney issued a statement. he was critical of a statement and now a former u.s. counter that was p out by the terrorism official says new administration. the administration let hours and countermeasures will have to be put in place. hoan hours go by before >> the location where the they corrected the statement that had come from their diplomatic facility was was not administering. finally late last n did your normal embassy with correct it. that disavowed it, much like heightened security. >> reporter: fred burton is a governor romney criticized it. former special agent with that same diplomatic security but his overall critique of what service. he says the marines will work the events over the last couple of days represent, what they're with agents to coordinate a security plan for americans still in libya, especially around benghazi. >> the agents with the sympt diplomatic security service, sympt symptomatic of have not changed. they're not working a vacuum. >> the statement was issued even they would be working in tandem before there was any violence, with the host government to make significant violence, apparently sure that the routes of travel going on at the embassy. and yet this morning after for the u.s. aassador is everyone knew that the state secure. department disavowed it, the >>eporte other former u.s. offials say marines are administration disavowed it, tripoli with the main u.s. governor romney came out and once again reiterated that
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diplomatic mission. >> there aren't that many marines in therld that could cover every single pos condemnation. >> first of all, wolf, you you d in the end, again, benghazi was the part of t country have covered the state where the rebels we most department. egypt the largest country this the middle east and the arab world. supportive of ameran involvement in libya. >> reporter: a seniefense our embassy there is one of the official confirms the u.s. has largest in the world. been flying surveillance drone certainly the largest in the missions oveya for sme region. the embassy in cairo works very time. and libyanere aware of the lights. closely with the division at our now he says that mission will be state department and closely tied up. if there was a breakdown in more focused on finding te communication between the state somalia's new leader and an specific insurgent cell responsible. the information will be passed department and the embassy, ontoliby officials whowould assassination attempt. >> hi, wolf. that's certainly disappointing presumably go after them on the happened just two days after he and adds to mixed messages. ground. that was not corrected until but libya's leaders don't was elected as president. very late last night, and to be completely ctrol the east. journalists on the scene report clear, just what a breakdown in early indications two suicide >> the government should -- the bombers set of explosives at communication there must have government has the possibity been then, because the embassy the gates of a mogadishu hotel. reissued the statement in social count on some of the militias or forces to attack a cell. but they do not have the media networks after the at least four somalia soldiers were lled violence. they issued the statement last night. consensusconfirming what you >> let me let robert weather strengtho countta already know, middle class larger gup. conditions -- let me let robert >> reporter: he expects that to launch an attack on libyan income is still fallin
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officials in an attempt to bring dian incom dropped to $50,4 >> the killing of the u.s. wexler respond. >> he is missing the point. down 1.5% from a year earl the point is the death of our ambassador is a huge event, but may not be the last ambassador and three other national povertyate drop americans amounted to a national tragedy. you up to date, the u.s. marines slightly. and one of the great things about 46 million people fell quick reaction force is on the below theoverty living on just over $23,000 a about america is during -- ground there in ripoli. >> if you're going to talk to and the pentagon is ideep dan, look into that camera right discussions with the state department and the white house year. and unveiled a taller, there. one of the great things about trying to determine what other hour country, dan, is that assets may be needed, ships, thinner d lighter version of during a national tragedy we its iphone. come together. planes, even some u.s. troops that are stationed overseas have thephone 5nch al compared 3.5 we unit. you speak about mixed messages? been notified that they could be inches on the previous vens. there is no worse mixed message it will have a fasterrocesr moved to u.s. embassies to try to meet the president's goal of to connect mobilearriers with p. than when a major presidential trying to bolster security around the world, wolf. candidate in the middle -- >> yeah, but those drones are actually at the beginning begins really intriguing to me, chris. i assume to you and a lot of some current speakers and to create partisan divide. accessorie they'reoing tne anade folks that the pentagon as you when an american ambassador is know president obama's authorized targeted killings by iphone tmethino keep in mind. killed, when three americans are there e changes. killed doing their jobs drones in pakistan. overseas, the time is to unite. certainly in afghanistan, in mu thinner.t diffence you have plenty of time to question whatever you want about yemen. the question is, will similar you can see on the reen. the president's policies in drone attacks against al qaeda >> little th i'm sure they'll sell a lot, a libya and the middle east and or other terrorist elements in the broad spectrum. lot of those. >> me too. but when we still don't know the libya be undertaken now >> thas very ch. especially since the president foreign policy all of a has declared publicly justice facts to do that kind of suecomg theocus in a harsh campaign exchange with the partisan attacks, i think
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will be served against those who crisis in libya still very much respectfully creates the killed those four americans? ultimate mixed message to the unfolding, mitt romney draws >> reporter: that is the big some serious criticism for his people outside that embassy. question, wolf. accusations against the obama those are the ones that you right now what we have from the administration. should be focused on. pentagon is a continuation and a focusing of these surveillance drone flights. and that's what president obama did today at the white house. those are very different than some of the attack drones that have been used obviously in >> you know, congressman wexler, parts of pakistan and other parts of the world where the we have two separate issues administration has gone after here. senior al qaeda figures. one is we do have a national but that would be a change going security crisis. and it's true we need to unite from strictly surveillance to an to find a solution to it. actual attack on an insurgent won't be easy because we have cell. >> i wouldn't be surprised. a real mess on our hands. we'll see what happens. in part because of the policies thanks very much for that. of president obama over the last the president says justice will several years in the region. be served. the attack in libya coincided with demonstrations but to say that in the context of a presidential campaign, our against a crude anti-muslim film democracy cannot have a conversation about the right produced right here in the united states. course is not only inconsistent our own brian todd tracked down one of the people who knows the filmmaker. with decades, not centuries of the history of our democratic tradition, but it's inconsistent with the way you carried on in 2008. the consistency in which you as a surrogate for president obama criticized every day our policy
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in iraq while american fighting men and women were on the the front line. i may have respectfully disagreed with you on the issues but i respected your rights to weigh in and criticize the policies of president bush and criticize the policies of senator mccain. how did i get here? 1980, 1979 many of the same dumb luck? or good decisions? critics said ronald reagan could ones i've made. not criticize jimmy carter's ones we've all made. about marriage. policies while hostages were in children. the embassy. we could unite behind the money. about tomorrow. country and stand behind a pursuit to the crisis but still here's to good decisions. recognize it in the best spirit who matters most to you says the most about you. of our country's tradition to have this conversation about what policies work and what massmutual is owned by our policyholders policies don't. and with all due respect, it's so they matter most to us. not up to you or president obama massmutual. we'll help you get there. to decide when our political leaders across the political spectrum can weigh in with our nature valley trail mix bars are made with real ingredients you can see. like whole roasted nuts, chewy granola, and real fruit. points of view. nature valley trail mix bars. there's nothing -- >> actually -- >> the president disavowed the 100% natural. 100% delicious. statement that the governor was
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100% natural. criticizing. >> dan, governor romney accused hey america, even though slisa rinna is wearing the new depend silhouette briefs for charity the president of the united states of sympathizing with the to prove how great the fit is attackers on the american even under a fantastic dress. embassies. the best protection now looks, that's not a discussion about fits and feels just like underwear. policy? we invite you to get a free with all due respect, that is sample and try one on too. the most striking partisan attack you can possibly level. last not -- >> so now you have a problem with the content of the statement. a moment ago you said that he shouldn't speak at all. now you can say that it was ay one is for a clean, avdomestic energy fu r himo speak. just didn't likehe words h that puts us in control. chose. >> no, that's not what i said, [♪...] our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, da bat i said -- >> do yo think it was appropriate for him to weigh in ing cleaner electricity,trol. on thi issueh he ha >>nnouncerwith nothing but serious criticism of thepolicie his computer, an identity thief inus to work in amera to the mess that we are eing. is able to use your infoation though energy vecomes with so, th amicans today seeing a to open a bank accnt in der to make your money his money. we're mmitted to s d responsibly mess on their television [whoosh, clang] producing naral gas. screens. unleashing througut the it's not a dream. middle east. you need lifelock, the only amica's tural gas... iran is getting close to a nuke idti proion rar weapons capability. putting us in controof ol energy future, now. tens of thousands of people are company at now monnk dead up in flame accounts for takeover fraud. lifelock: relessly >> d if you think, dan, for protecting your identity. one second -- >> the israeli prime minister -800-lifelock or golilock.comoday. feels he cannot trust and standby the american president
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and you saat the need for a how did the nba become the hottest league on the planet? major party can't weigh in. >> i'm not sayingcat weigh by building on the cisco intelligent network in. but if you think the republican nominee accusing the president they're able to serve up live video, and instant replays, of the united stat of sympatzing with the terrorists whcked our embassies is in creating fans from berlin to beijin what can we help youuild? any way constructive in terms of  ni shot kid. the nbaround the world what our men and women on the ilthatould. cisco. ground need to do, you are sadly mistaken. that is not the way in which you lead the world's single military power. >> the embassy statement criticized the bigotry of somehow explicitly if not implicitly responsible for the violence that was unleashed against our diplomatic folks in congress. an, the president -- >> let me finish my point, rob. i let you finish. the statement that came out of the administering yesterday, and with the anti-u.s. violence that was reissued in social in egypt and libya hitting the media networks after the news late tuesday, mitt romney wasted no time before criticizing the obama violence, blamed, criticized,
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the quote/unkwoelt bigotry for administration's response and being bigotry in the united the president's international policies. he's doing it again today states for being responsible for despite a growing political the violence. that's what governor romney was backlash and some questions speaking out against. about whether romney's twisting that's what he wascriticizing. some of the facts. the idea that americans are our national political correspondent jim acosta is ov responsible. americanot responsible covering the romney campaign. for that violence. he's got the very latest. and the president himself nally it took niner ten jim. >> reporter: wolf, mitt romney hours, but the president himself initially said, yesterday, that disavowed the statement that the he would not criticize president obama on september 11th, but govern was crizg, oo. so yourprm it sounds like late last night romney issued a now, congressman, is not with statement that blasted the governor romney. your problem now is with president's handling of the president obama. diplomatic attacks in the middle because he himself disavowed the east. as one republican strategist put same statement. >> let's jump in real quick. i want to ask because you're it to cnn, this could be the talking about governor romney game-changer of the 2012 politicizing this. and we've heard that criticism a campaign. lot, robert. it was a high stakes moment for but what do you think president his campaign. obama is heading to las vegas to and mitt romney doubled down hold a rally. he's campaigning today. accusing the president of do you think he should have showing weakness on the world stage in the hours after the canceled the event? as you said, this is a national killings of american diplomats tragedy. should he be campaigning on the same day? >> the president had a very overseas. >> i think it's a terrible somber press conference with
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secretary clinton. course for america to stand in he's handled the tragedy for the past 24 hours and now he's apology for our values. >> reporter: romney first moving on with his schedule. weighed in on the crisis late tuesday taking issue with a statement released by the u.s. no one is suggesting that time embassy in cairo aimed at calming tensions over a movie that mocked islam. should stop. but before the facts are known, the embassy's statement said it and wolf said it quite well. condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt governor romney made the the religious feelings of statement last night and doubled muslims as we condemn efforts to down this morning, even knowing that the ambassador was killed. offend believers of all even knowing that remarks religion. in his own statement romney said suggesting, claiming that the president of the united states it's disgraceful that the obama somehow sympzeth th administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on terrorists who attacked the our diplomatic missions but to ies,emsshat's where i believe aricans w say sympathyize with those who waged the attacks. he crossed the line. the embassy's statement was >>'ll gi y one final apparently released before the thought. >> would just say it's sad violence, not only in egypt but in libya as well where it was that we'reg eged down in later confirmed the u.s. ambassador to that country was progress. parsing the difntthings murdered. asked whether he spoke too soon, governor romney said in the statement. romney blamed the white house here's a bigger question. for not backing away from the do you think the president's policy in the middle east has been a success. embassy's comments right away. >> they clearly sent mixed looksike asa t americans. >> the pres policy in messages to the world. and the statement that came from iraq has been quite successful. the administration and the he's gotten us out of-
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embassy is the administration. >> reporter: but romney's initial statement is dividing >> wha abt iran? what about ia? some republicans. one top advisor to john mccain's at abt israel? 2008 campaign said romney was you aed the question. let me answer it. "too quick to politicize over implementedth stctest, faulty reporting initially. most comphensset of sanctions with respect to iran. too quick to politicize the iran on thedec ase deaths of foreign service oos the increase which officers makes him appear not ready." it was when -- >> whys the cisis in the but another top gop strategist, relatietween the israeli government and the united states cnn contributor alex castellanos over theast -- said could be a "game changer" >> there is no crisis in the in a sign romney has no plans to relationship. what president obama has did back down his running mate, paul down a very strict setf standards, red lines. ryan, was just as harsh at a >> d you thi our allies in rally. >> if you show weakness, if you the regio -- >>old on. unfortunately we gotoe show moral equivocation, then break. we're all out of time. foreign policy adventurism among buyou know what, this is the second time the two of you have our adversaries will increase. been here "the situation >> reporter: for the republican ticket it's a running theme room." romney has returned to time and and we're going to invite both of you back to continue this again. from romney's book "no conversation weteally even get i some of the stuff that we wanted apologies" to his foreign to discuss, including this. policies dealings on the trail. >> he's given trust what's not earned, insult where it's not deserved and apology where it's
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not due. all right. >> reporter: by contrast the standby, guys president made no mention of anks very, very much. we'll continhi down the road. romney in his remarks at the >> much more to discuss, white house. >> we will not waiver in our viously. >> the libyan ambassadorq to th commitment to make sure justice is done for this terrible act. and make no mistake, justice united states is also here. here's standing by live. will be done. we'llk to him about what >> reporter: letting fellow democrats handle the response. happened inghazi. >> i think he ought to apologize. and i don't think he knows what he's talking about, frankly. it's that simple. >> reporter: a top romney foreign policy advisor who asked not to be named acknowledged to cnn that the ambassador's death was not known at the time the gop nominee released that statement late last night. but as these new facts come in, that advisor told me, wolf, that does not change the heart of what romney said in that statement, wolf. >> all right. jim, thank you. president obama's now slapping directly back at mitt romney's criticism. listen to what he just told cbs every time a local business opens its doors, news. >> there's a broader lesson to or makes another sale, or hires another employee, be learned here. governor romney seems to have a it's not just good for business.
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tendency to shoot first and name it's good for the entire community. later. and as president, one of the at bank of america, we know the impact things i've learned is you can't that local businesses have on communities. do that. it's important for you to make that's why we've extended over $4 billion in new credit sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the to local businesses across the country so far this year. facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before because the more we help them, the more we can help you make them. >> the president by the way is now on his way to a campaign make communities stronger. event in nevada. let's bring in two cnn analysts, our chief political analyst, wthe future of our medicare andr electiosocial security. for... gloria borger, and chief political correspondent candy man 1: i want facts. straight talk. tell me your plan... crowley. candy, did mitt romney jump the and what it means for me. gun here? >> well, look, they don't think woman 2: i'm tired of the negative ads and political spin. so. okay. that's their story and they're going to stick to it. th'tme dide. they are in this. man 2: i earned my medicare and social security. they were in it again this d rve some answers. anncr: where do the candidates stand on issues that... morning. they're feelinin the romney camp is, wait a second, the president disavowed and sai ut with the aarp voters' guide at earnedasay.org affect seniors today and in the fu this wasn't about our -- this statement from the u.s. embassy in cairo was not from us, we didn't approve it. and they'd say, look, this is what mitt romney condemned. it would look like an apology
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for free speech. >> what do you think of the president's response in that little clip we just showed? >> sort of swatted him down. look, i've talked to the romney campaign today. they say it's absurd that they're getting criticized for disavowing a statement that the president actually disavowed himself later on. but i've also talked to republican foreign policy experts. some of whom talk to the campaign, some of whom don't. and they're feeling is that what romney said last night was actually that the obama administration's response to the attacks was the egyptian embassy's statement, which of course was sort of a rogue statement, if you will. it had not been cleared by the state department, apparently. which is very odd for these kinds of things. you know that. diplomatic statements are usually clear. and i had this senior republican foreign policy expert say to me, let me quote this to you "that romney's statement was an ill
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considered jump to make an attack that also happens to be beside the point" because the real point he's trying to make is the president doesn't have a muscular foreign policy because by the way mitt romney is about a dozen points behind the president when it comes to foreign policy. >> foreign policy not necessarily a huge issue at least so far in this campaign. in our moegs recent poll we asked one of the most important issues out there said economic issues, 33% said domestic and social issues. 4% said foreign policy issues. and on the issue of foreign policy, you know, the president does much better. obama 54%, romney 42%. but, candy, 4%, unless there's a crisis, usually foreign policy is not on the minds of a lot of americans. >> right. and the question is how will we view this through the prism of president obama is vowing the united states will find the people who attacked the u.s. november? when it was one thing when osama consulate in benghazi, libya, bin laden was out there and vowing justice on the attack of there was this, you know, is the killing the u.s. ambassador of bush administration going to get the country along with three him when john kerry was running other americans as we've been talking about.
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against george bush. >> finding them will require the question is, does it have cooperation from libya. let's talk about that and more resonance come november with with the ambassador of the that 4%? because we keep seeing close united states. thanks very much for coming in. polls. perhaps it could. but i think the larger question do you know who was responsible for killing these four americans? here is in listening to >> no. president obama was almost like listening to hillary clinton >> do you know which group was responsible? four years ago when she kept saying, well, you know what i >> it could be a terrorist group. know from having done this et it could be some of gadhafi's cetera, et cetera. it does not seem to me that association. it could be al qaeda. but at the present time it's americans unless they feel a real threat to u.s. homeland very early to decide. >> what are you doing to find that they vote on the basis of these individuals? foreign policy alone. >> except, i remember and you do too, all of us remember 1980. >> well, when cars exploded in jimmy carter, the incumbent the streets, we are able to capture the people and find out president lost 444 days, they have a link. americans held hostage in iran. and this is a very good sign a huge embarrassment for the that it has stopped working. then incumbent president. >> ambassador, this tragedy has >> it was. a lot of people wondering but this is not that. >> we don't know how this is gadhafi has been gone for almost a year now. going to escalate. >> no, we doept. can you definitely say that the >> over the next two months. libyan government has things >> but not 444 days. under control? >> right. fran townsend said earlier when
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she was there a couple of weeks at this point. >> right. >> this is not that. ago that it seems very chaotic. but i think what you saw president obama trying to do is to claim, okay, he's the one with the experience. he's the one who should get the >> well, it is not under control 3:00 a.m. phone call. completely. and i think what you see mitt but 42 years of dictatorship romney doing is really playing with no institution, with no defense. and in a way he's looking to police forces, with no army, that we started from zero. pick a fight with the president over foreign policy. he needs to raise his approval and we went through eight months rating on that to a certain of fighting. degree because even though this election as your poll shows may not be about foreign policy, and of course, now today, the isn't likely to be about foreign policy, there's still sort of a first election of the prime minister. commander in chief threshold. and what the president was trying to do was kind of say, and this is a history in the well, mitt romney doesn't meet making. but i'm sure we cannot go by that threshold. it will be a debate. >> gloria, candy, thanks very ourselves. much. the libyan ambassador of the america has stood with us in the united states speaking out to time of war. you have to stand with us in the time of peace. you have to support this government. our own. next with details. and the statement by secrery clinton that they are in the same direction. we have to work together. we have to stop this incident,
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serious incident. and it'sdamaged the reputation of the support from the beginning. >> some people have suggested, mr. ambassador, there were warning signs that something like this could happen. so i asked, was there no libyan military or police protection of the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi or the u.s. embassy, for that matter, in tripoli? >> well, there are. >> as a host country, you're responsible. >> yes, it is our responsibility. we have to protect the diplomat. we have to protect the citizens i was talking to my best friend. i told her i wasn't feeling like myself... on our soil. i had pain in my pelvic area... and we have to attract those in and bleeding that wasn't normal for me. libya to develop the country. she said i had to go to the doctor. but we went through some of them turned out i had uterine cancer, in the revolution. a type of gynecologic cancer. i received treatment and we're confident i'll be fine. i'm sure after we receive the please listen to your body. new trainee who is now in jordan if something doesn't feel right for two weeks or longer, see your doctor. and turkey. get the inside knowledge about gynecologic cancers. and with the support of the united states and the western countries, we have to work very
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knowing can make all the difference in the world. hard. but it's not the end of the world. here at the hutchison household. but one dark stormy evening... the libyan people, all of them, they are against what is she needed a good meal and a good family. happening. and this is a very small number of people who are responsible so we gave her purina cat chow complete. for that. it's the best because it has something for all of our cats! >> and ambassador, you knew and after a couple of weeks she was part of the family. chris stevens personally. get the final thought on the we're so lucky that lucy picked us. work that he has done for your country. [ female announcer ] purina cat chow complete. >> this is for more than six and for a delicious way to help maintain a healthy weight, years. i know him when he was a try new purina cat chow healthy weight. diplomat at nbc in tripoli. and for a delicious way to help maintain a healthy weight, i knew him when he went to libya after the revolution. sometimes, i can't believe the things i'm able to do. without shriners hospitals, my life would be completely different. he committed to the revolution. he comes to the house mostly when i was seven, we found out i had scoliosis. weekends and we go together in everything changed when they stepped in. one car to play tennis. it was like they gave me my future back. and then we come back to the house to have breakfast. we ask him about the relation. tori's life is one of nearly a million we lost him as a friend, as a changed by donations from people like you. man who stands by us and the send your love to the rescue. donate today.
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revolution. >> that's a great, great diplomat and a good friend. our deepest condolences. i know you were very close to him. thank you for joining us. cnn has just been able to make contact with the stepfather of the slain united states ambassador, chris stevens. i'm going to speak with him exclusively when we come back. but she loved it so much... i told her it wahomede everyone tell a ltle white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? and every day since, two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. we've worked hard to keep it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help people and businesses who were affected, and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy -- and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. we've shared what we've learned with governments and across the industry so we can all produce energy more safely. i want you to know, there's another commitment bp takes
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just as seriously: our commitment to america. bp supports nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs in communities across the country. we hired three thousand people just last year. bp invests more in america than in any other country. in fact, over the last five years, no other energy company has invested more in the us than bp. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. today, our commitment to the gulf, and to america, has never been stronger. the attack on the u.s. embassy in libya -- actually the u.s. consulate in libya and the protest outside the embassy in the egyptian capital of cairo come as both countries struggle to establish democracy following the arab spring. and cnn's chief international correspondent christiane amanpour is joining us. christiane, you had a chance to speak with libyan ambassador to the united states. what did he tell you? >> what i did, wolf, and obviously he's very sad. he knew chris stevens
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personally. he thanked him for all the efforts he made on behalf of libyan democracy as well as all the u.s. leadership. and those other three diplomats who were killed as well. but i asked him specifically the order from the u.s. is to hunt these people down and bring them to justice. and we've heard reports of drones going out to do surveillance and provide that intelligence to the libyans. i asked him could they do it, he said they had to. >> you will remember last few weeks there were also car bombs in tripoli. and we've been able to capture some of the people who are responsible for that. and that was a line to lead us to who was responsible and the financial support they get from overseas. it is our -- we must know these people, we must know the sellers who are working in the dark destabilize libya and destabilize our relation with foreign countries. >> so, wolf, he's very clear that these people attacked the united states but also
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threatened the libyan democracy as well. >> what about egypt, christiane? you've spent a lot of time there. you've gotten to know some of these new leaders, these muslim brotherhood leaders, egyptian president mohamed morsi democratically elected, as far as we know right now he personally has not yet condemned the attack on the u.s. embassy in cairo yesterday. why is that? >> well, we have and i've spoken with him, i'm one of the few that has spoken with him, this is previously, he talked very strongly about a moderate democracy. i have asked why hasn't he spoken out yet. people tell me that he's traveling. there has been reaction from the prime minister of egypt who condemned the film because in egypt it was about this anti-islamic film that created the attacks against the u.s. embassy yesterday. prime minister condemning the film but saying there was no excuse for violence in egypt. and that protesters had to protest peacefully. and asking the united states by the same token to move against
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people who are insight hatred and insight tolerance based on ethnicity or religion. he also said to me our future lies not just in our region but within the united states. they're very clear, the egyptians, that their future lies with good relations, good bilateral relations with the u.s. and you know, earlier this week a high level u.s. delegation state department officials, business leaders, were in egypt to talk about moving forward together. listen to what mitt romney, the republican presidential nominee, said about the arab spring. and you covered it very, very thoroughly. listen to this. >> over the last several years we've stood witness to an arab spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous region. but it also poses the potential for peril. if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events. we must strive to ensure that the arab spring does not become an arab winter.
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>> a lot of people see that arab winter. do you see that yet? >> well, listen, wolf, i think what candidate romney has said is what a lot of people say. of course you want to see this arab spring emerge into a democratic reality for this region. and a moderate one. but i don't think it is an arab winter. and nor do most people who look at what's going on there. they point to the moderates who have won in libya, for instance. and even though it's a muslim brotherhood candidate, they talk about upholding treaties, about democracy, about equality for all, about keeping good relations with not just israe and the peace treaty but also with the united states. in tunisia as well it's about moderation. but the fear of course is those small groups of sol fists. the real extremists. the saudi stall extremists not alt all happy with the democratic moderate way these countries are going.
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and it's in their interest to seize on any issue they can to attack not just the u.s. but also their own governments to try to put themselves in power. so that's what people have to keep an eye on. trying to empower these governments now and trying to help them, you know, really get to a democracy and build on these blocks while trying to sideline and minimize the trouble that the sol fas and extremist ks cause. >> christiane amanpour, as usual, thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf.
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jack's back with the cafferty file. jack. >> wolf, the question this hour is was the arab spring worth it? mike in minneapolis says asking why after two whole years, decades and maybe even centuries worth of problems haven't been solved is a very american question. toppling a dictator's not a magic pill. and the subsequent violence is by no means unique to the middle east. while the title may sound like it, arab spring is not a movie. for those in egypt, libya and iraq who have a tv set, i'm guessing they're not impressed with 21st century american democracy anyway. raf in florida says the jury's still out on whether the arab spring was worth it to the arabs. it was definitely not worth it to us. what part of too broke to keep playing world cop does our leadership not understand? john in alabama writes, yes, the arab spring was worth it, jack. freedom and democracy are messy,
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but the only things that fully satisfy the needs of the people. men and women will die for freedom so their children can live free. we might sit in different pews and pray in different ways, but the hallmark of our believes is freedom. houston says why do you refer to the arab spring in the past tense? they're still trying to find their way to a stable form of government. look at the history of the united states. we're declared our independence from england in 1776, and the u.s. constitution wasn't ratified until 1789. will you give the arabs 13 years to get their act together? and michael in virginia writes, we're lexington, concord and yorktown worth it? it's not our call, jack. if you want to read more on the subject, go to the blog cnn.com/caffertyfile or our post on the "the situation room" facebook page, wolf. >> jack, thank you. shock, condemnation and grief. we're going to hear hillary clinton's rather emotional statement as the embassy crisis unfolds. nual bonus.
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within the tightly knit state department, the death of u.s. ambassador chris stevens is a huge loss. you can hear it in the voices in the people who knew him and worked with him including the secretary of state, hillary clinton. >> today many americans are asking, indeed i asked myself, how could this happen? how could this happen in a country we helped liberate in a city we helped save from destruction? this question reflects just how
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complicated and at times how confounding the world can be. but we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. this was an attack by a small and savage group. not the people or government of libya. >> secretary clinton also says violence like this is no way to honor a religion or a faith. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, president obama avows that justice will be done in the killing of the united states ambassador to libya and three other americans. but who was behind the attack? the house intelligence committee chairman congressman mike rogers is standing by. ambassador chris stevens risked his life to help libyans overthrow a dictator and lost his life in the city he helped to save. we're going to hear from those who knew him. and egypt's new leader
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speaking out without one word of condemnation for the attack on the u.s. embas there. we're going live to cairo. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the united states is vowing to track down those behind the bloody attack on the american consulate in benghazi, libya. the u.s. ambassador, chris stevens and three other americans, died after the building was set ablaze by a rocket propelled grenade. >> we will not waiver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. and make no mistake, justice will be done. >> u.s. sources say the attack was planned in advance by a
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jihadist group. the fbi is investigating. and dozens of u.s. marines have been sent to beef up security for americans in libya. cnn's jomana karadsheh is on the phone. she's joining us from tripoli, libya, right now. jomana, tell us what happened based on all of the evidence, all of the reporting you're doi doing. [ technical difficulties ] jomana, i don't know if you can hear me. i'll try to fix that and get back to you. i think we've lost connections with jomana. we're going to get back to her. let me walk over here. the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers, is standing by. he's got -- he's been fully briefed on what's going on. mr. chairman, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. thanks for having me. >> based on what you have been told and all the information you have what you can share with our
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viewers here in the unit states and around the world, first of all, who did this? who killed these four americans? >> the actual identity we're still working through the final details of exactly. i think we're getting close to being able to identify the group that is responsible for this. but it is -- it was clearly a well-coordinated attack that was specifically planned to do and accomplish what you saw unfortunately unfold in benghazi. >> was it an al qaeda-led or inspired operation? >> you can tell by the signature there in the -- for months we've en al qaeda looking for western targets. that was all across northern africa. we have seen certain activities that certainly lead you to believe today that it is an al qaeda affiliated group. there are still some fuzzy details that i think we'll have resolved within the next few days to have a for sure and for certain.
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but clearly it has all the hallmark of an al qaeda-style event. >> was there any chatter as they say or any indication that something like thiswas about to happen at the u.s. consulate in benghazi? >> you know, we didn't get the warning you would hope to get in an event like this so we could have prevented the loss of life. and with a horrible tragedy for losing a u.s. ambassador mr. stevens. we think that we'll be able to go back and take a look. again, we're going to rescrub all of that. that's what unfortunately we'll need to do to make sure we didn't miss anything. but i don't believe so. i don't believe there was some smoking gun missed leading up to this. and there wasn't that kind of chatter that would lead you to believe that this event was happening on this day with this specific target. i didn't see anything like that. i don't think our intelligence services have. but we're going back to make that scrub to make sure we understand fully what the picture was leading up to the event and subsequent to the event. >> because it does look at least based on everything i've heard
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as a pretty sophisticated assassination effort to kill the united states ambassador. so here's the question, was it time to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11? >> i'm an old fbi guy, wolf. i don't believe a lot of coincidences all in the same day. so it certainly looks that way to me. there are differences of opinion as we stand here today. remember, we're going to have more details. this story will take -- we'll understand all the pieces to this puzzle within days of the event. but right now it certainly appears to me that the significance of this date was important. we knew that al qaeda for years had a fixation on the 9/11 date since the original attack on the united states. so it wouldn't be implausible to think that they could plan an event. an event like this doesn't just come together in a day and say we're going out to do this. this was a well-sophisticated coordinated event.
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i believe this was timed to happen on this date. we don't know that for sure as of today. that's mike rogers looking at what we know from history and the facts i've seen making that conclusion. >> what we're hearing, mr. chairman, is that some of the protesters who showed up at the u.s. consulate in benghazi were upset by this anti-muslim film that's now out there on the internet. but that this actual killing mission, this assassination attempt and successful assassination plot had nothing to do with this anti-muslim film. >> and i believe that's right. and i would be also careful even on the egyptian portion of this. that film played a role, but we're not exactly sure if this wasn't an information operation. remember, in cairo there had been protests for some time at that particular place. there certainly were some extremist groups that we knew were participating and organizing and stirring up those protests. what we saw fr the cartoon incident is that when they were
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published, the violence wasn't really conducted for months after that. and it was because of this information operations conducted by extremist groups to try to use that as a vehicle to get people to conduct acts of violence. we don't know for sure yet today, wolf. but i'm highly suspect of the timing of certain issues. questions we don't have answered. and the fact that there may have been an information operation designed around filtering into these protest groups to attack the embassy on that particular day. again, we're going to know more in the days ahead. but i would be a little bit -- i would be a little bit hesitant to say it was all because of this particular video that this happened. i think there's a lot more questions we need answered before i'd come to that conclusion. >> yeah. you don't believe in coincidences as a former fbi agent. i don't believe in coincidences necessarily either. so here's the question, the attack on the u.s. embassy in cairo coming on the anniversary of 9/11, the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi coming on the anniversary of 9/11, is
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there any connection between these two attacks? >> as of today i can tell you of no connection between those two events. but, again, something could change. here's the other part of this. remember, there's encouragement for these franchises of al qaeda around the world to conduct operations. so they may get a general, you know, opportunistic command of, hey, on this day we would like you to do something. and then they would take their internal planning from there. so you can say in some cases that there may have been a general belief that that day was important and they should coordinate any attacks on that particular day without the egyptian faction and the libyan faction even knowing either one. so there's a lot of areas for confusion here if you're looking at it from the outside. at the same time there may have been. we just haven't seen it yet. >> we're out of time, mr. chairman. one quick final estion, what does it say to you that the president of egypt, mohamed morsi, issues a statement but
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does not condemn the attack on the u.s. embassy in egypt? and i raise the question because the u.s. as you well know provides egypt with about $1.5 billion, with a b, billion dollars a year in various forms of military and economic assistance. >> well, we're going to have to ask some really hard questions. remember, this new muslim brotherhood-led government violated the treaty really with israel by putting tanks and heavy armament into the sanai. they've made pretty sweeping damaging statements to that relationship. and made other concrete decisions. why wint the external security force better prepared and doing more to keep those folks off the wall on our embassy in cairo? we're going to have to lay on the table some very hard talking points. one of which is the aid that we give to egypt. now, i wouldn't rush to take it away. but we certainly need to make conditional changes here in our relationship with this new egyptian government if we're going to have a relationship
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that wants to move forward and doesn't want to degrade and devolve into what could be at least soft on jihadists who are starting to believe that they have the opportunity of to freedom to do acts in places like egypt and around the world. >> mike rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee. mr. chairman, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. thanks for having me. i think we've re-established our connection with cnn's jomana karadsheh. she's on the phone joining us from tripoli, the libyan capital. jomana, if you can hear me, tell me what your reporting has suggested? what exactly do we know happened in benghazi at the u.s. consulate there? >> reporter: wolf, libyan sources here have been giving conflicting reports of what actually happened. what we know is coming from senior u.s. sources saying it was a rocket propelled grene that struck the consulate setting it ablaze. the staff in there were facing a fire inside the building and
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heavily armed fighters on the outside. we're hearing ambassador stevens and three others killed with him were separated from the other staff members as they tried to escape to the roof of the building. the ambassador and two other employees including a regional security officer were in a safe room in the building as it burnt around them. u.s. sources are saying that there were attempts to go back into the building and rescue them, but they were unsuccessful. foreign service member sean smith according to these sources died of smoke inhalation inside the building. and it also appears ambassador stevens managed to escape from the burning building, but it's not clear what condition he was in when he got out and how he died. >> i know the libyan government has condemned the attack, the killing of the united states ambassador and three other americans condemn the attack on the u.s. consulate. but here's the question, was there a libyan military or
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police presence there to protect this diplomatic compound? >> reporter: yes, wolf. when this story broke yesterday, we had officers on the scene who were describing what was going on there as a front line. they said that libyan security forces along with today we're learning with u.s. security were -- these attackers, clashes that went on for hours according to these eyewitnesses. now, what we're hearing today fromhe libyan government, the libyan parliament speaker trying to reassure the united states and the international community that the libyan authorities here are here to provide security and safety for foreign nationals and foreign mission in libya, something very hard for people to believe right now especially after this attack. and previous attacks that we have seen over recent months targeting foreign missions they
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are in benghazi, the u.s. consulate itself being the target back in june when a bomb -- >> jomana karadsheh, i think we just lost our connection. be careful if you can hear me over there. she was joining us on the phone from the libyan capital of tripoli. we're also getting new information that's coming in on how the attack went down. additional details. standby, we're going to give you a minute-by-minute account of what happened. and our colleague -- one of our colleagues knew ambassador stevens for more than a decade, our state department reporter elise labott will share some personal reflections. woman 1: this isn't just another election. we're voting for...
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jack cafferty's also following our top story, the killing of the united states ambassador in libya. jack's here with the cafferty file. jack. >> the violence in libya has suddenly yanked the spotlight off the economy and put it squarely on foreign policy, at least as far as the u.s. presidential campaign is concerned. mitt romney quick to slam
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president obama for his administration's response to angry mobs attacking u.s. diplomatic buildings in the middle east. romney said that a statement from the u.s. embas in cairo was like an apology calling it "disgraceful to apologize for american values." other republicans jumped in, blasted the president's failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology. the white hoe disavowed the embassy statement, said they never approved it before it was sent out. in that statement the cairo embassy condemned "continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims." all of this going back to that film produced in the united states that some muslims found offensive. president obama condemned the attacks. but he said that mitt romney has the tendency to "shoot first and aim later." something obama said you can't do as president. and others agree that romney may have jumped the gun with his response. senator john kerry called romney's remarks irresponsible,
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inexperienced and reckless. he said romney was wrong to weigh-in before all the facts were known. as for the voters, they tend to trust the president by a pretty wide margin when it comes to foreign policy. a cnn/orc survey released this week showed president obama with a 54%, 42% advantage over mitt romney. here's the question, how will the meltdown in the middle east effect the u.s. presidential campaign and election? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog. or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. >> jack, thank you. let's get a closer look at just how the deadly attack on the americans in libya happened. cnn's tom foreman is joining us now. tom, walk us through what you're learning. >> the simple truth is, wolf, as investigators look at this, they're going to study how people, weapons and a sequence of events came together. benghazi's a town of about 700,000 people. last evening according to various published eyewitness
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accounts, several hundred began gathering around the u.s. mission there enguarded in part by libyan security forces. this crowd had been widely described as including members of an ultraconservative islamist group. precisely who they were remains unclear. u.s. officials are certain that within this group was an organized assault force intent on attacking the mission there. as does mob press closer to the building, shots were fired from the crowd. and as u.s. officials describe it, an organized attack with heavy weapons erupted from that crowd. an expert over at global security.org tells us in all likelihood the rifles being used were ak-47s and belgian f-2000. the country littered with these from many years of war. and also rocket propelled grenades. these have enough punch to knock down doors, maybe some parts of walls. it's worth noting also however that eversince gadhafi's fall, there have been many reports of much more powerful shoulder-launched rockets going
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missing, rockets which could do much more damage if they were used. we're yet to find out if that's the case. we'll find out as time goes on. in any event, libyan guards were driven back by the assault. everyone else too. other homemade bombs were lobbed over the perimeter and attackers charged into the compound. during all of this u.s. officials believe the ambassadors and others holed up in a safe room as mentioned earlier. and as it filled with smoke, they tried to escape to the roof. they ended up caught between the attackers outside and the fires inside. and according to authorities, the ambassador was overcome by smoke. and smoke inhalation is what ultimately killed him. the whole affair beginning to end is believed to have lasted about three hours, wolf. the repercussions of course with last much, much longer. that's the sequence of events and weapons that investigators are going to study very closely to determine if as suggested by the congressman earlier this was an organized assault planned ahead of time and executed last evening. >> that's what congressman mike
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rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee clearly suggested. this was a plot. this was a plan that was in the works for some time and may have had direct al qaeda connections. thanks, tom, for that. we're going to continue to stay on top of this story. there's other news we're following as well including some democrats who have been forced to apologize for a mishap on the big screen at last week's democratic convention. you're going to see what happened. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." you see us, at the start of the day. on the company phone list that's a few names longer. you see us bank on busier highways.
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chicago's massive public school strike has now hit its third day. lisa sylvester's monitoring that and some other top stories in "the situation room" right now. my heart goes out to all those parents and kids in chicago. >> yeah, you know they are certainly feeling it, wolf. thousands of teachers, they are
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back outside picketing today while both sides are back at the negotiating table. still apparently miles apart from a deal that would get 350,000 children back in school. teacher evaluations and benefits were initially among the major sticking points. the union represents almost 30,000 teachers and support staff in the country's third largest school district. and the cdc is warning of an outbreak of illness linked to the consumption of a type of tainted ricotta cheese that's left three people dead and another 14 hospitalized across 11 states and the district of columbia. the outbreak is being blamed on the bacteria listeria. it may be tied to the company, forever cheese, which has issued a voluntary recall. listeria's known for causing food born illness. and fish oil supplements which have been widely touted for improving heart health may not be as useful as once thought. researchers for a new study re-examined inconsistent data from 20 previous clinical trials and concluded the supplements
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were no more effective than a placebo at preventing premature death or serious cardiovascular problems. doctors recommend fish in its natural state to boost heart health. you know those four giant warships that appeared on screen at the democratic national convention? they reportedly weren't american ships. according to the navy times, experts concluded the photo composite actually showed russian ships with trainer jets flying overahead. the navy timings reports democratic officials have apologized for that mistake. i know, wolf, they're trying to figure out how did that mistake happen. that's a pretty big one at the dnc. you don't want russian ships at an event where you're honoring u.s. veterans, certainly. >> in this day and age, everybody notices. there are experts that notice everything. >> you can go back, look at the tape, you can blow things up, you can examine it very closely. they've got to watch those
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thigpens certa things, certainly, wolf. >> those who knew the united states ambassador to libya say one word about him. and they're saying it often on this day, the word being optimistic. just ahead, lisa sylvester will be back to take a closer look at the man behind the diplomat. this happy couple used capital one venture miles
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just hours ago president obama ordered the flags at the white house and federal buildings around the country be lowered to half staff in honor of those four americans who lost
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their lives in benghazi. lisa's back. she's joining us with a closer look at how they are being remembered. lisa. >> yeah, such a tragic story, wolf. we now know the names of two of the four victims, ambassador chris stevens who didn't run from the hot spots of the world. he ran toward them. he had a strong conviction that by getting people to the table they could reach agreement. and then there is sean smith, an air force veteran who worked for the state department for ten years, a husband and father. >> my name is chris stevens, and i'm the new u.s. ambassador to libya. >> a 21-year veteran of the foreign service. shortly before he left to begin his diplomatic post in libya, he made this video. he visited the monuments of slain american heroes who died for a cause they believed in. maybe a bit of foreshadowing. >> i'm reminded that we too went through challenging periods when america was divided by a bitter civil war. >> during the libyan revolution
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to oust moammar gadhafi, stevens served as u.s. envoy to libya opposition arriving on a cargo ship in the port of benghazi. >> he risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better libya. >> reporter: stevens grew up in northern california, attended the university of berkeley and joined the peace corps in 1983. he spoke french and arabic and spent most of his foreign see care posted throughout the middle east and north africa. his friends are remembering him today. >> i knew him throughout my life. and i lost a part of myself today. and i lost someone who actually unconditionally loved just about everybody. >> reporter: stevens was well-known and well-liked on capitol hill. in july senator mccain posted this picture to twitter calling stevens "one of america's finest diplomats who also makes one of the best cappuccinos in tripoli."
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among his friends senior staffer manisha singh. >> he was dedicated to working to build a common understanding. >> reporter: also killed in the attack, sean smith, a foreign service information officers. he was posted at the hague in libya only on short assignment. smith has been with the foreign service for ten years. he's survived by his wife, heather, and children samantha and nathan. smith had an active presence in the online gaming world. both men died doing a mission for their country. stevens being the first ambassador since 1979 to be killed in the line of duty. >> this was his calling in life. he basically said this is what he was meant to do. and he was willing to take the risks. and it's so unfortunate that that risk finally overtook him. it's tragic that -- you know, i think he died living out his life's mission. >> two other americans were killed along with smith and stevens. their names have not been released pending notification of
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next of kin, wolf. >> a sad, sad story indeed. i assume at some point they'll let us know the names of these other two americans. >> that's at least what the plan is. i know earlier in the day they said they had to notify the next of kin. so that's what we're waiting on. so within the next few hours, nec day or so, we should hopefully hear their names as well, wolf. >> deepest condolences to all of their families. a lot of people knew this united states ambassador to libya. he was well-known especially to some of our own colleagues and correspondents. our foreign affairs reporter, elise labott, is here. you knew him for ten years? >> i did. he's one of the first people i met when i came to the state department in 2000 as a producer there, wolf. >> and you actually worked with him, traveled with him a little bit. tell us about chris stevens. >> well, chris stevens was a man who everyone knew. he loved libya. i first traveled with him in 2007. zane and i traveled with secretary of state condoleezza rice where he was the head of
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the u.s. embassy as it was standing up. we took a trip, for instance, to the ruins. it was the three of us. just really standing in these ruins right there, wolf. i mean, it was just -- i thought what was amazing is chris saw it and said, look, this country really has so much potential for tourism. he always saw the good in libya, the potential in libya. and he was someone that was seen as having -- this was not a pinstripe diplomat. he was somebody who really got his hands dirty, rolled up his sleeves and went into the trenches working with the rebels. someone who really always tried to find the good in people. >> so he wasn't just walking around with a suit and tie and having diplomatic -- >> more like khakis and a t-shirt. >> and he spoke the language as well, which is critically important for united states -- >> fluent arabic speaker. >> i guess the mood -- you were at the state department today, it must be so somber just reflecting on him and the three others. >> it's definitely a sad day for the state department. as lisa said, since '79 an
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ambassador killed. but he was seen as the cream of the crop for the u.s. foreign service. he went to all these hot spots as his friends said. he was in syria, he was in jerusalem at the height of tensions there. and really somebody who was kind of an adventurer, really seen as someone who really loved doing what he did. and he died, unfortunately, doing what he loved. >> yeah, that's a sad story. he was so helpful in getting rid of gadhafi, helping the rebels win that war, if you will, that civil war. and he pays this price. what an awful situation. thanks very much, elise labott. egypt's new leader is now speaking out without, get this, one word of condemnation for the attack on the united states embassy in cairo. we're going live to cairo. [ male announcer ] if you believe the mayan calendar,
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the deadly attack in libya followed a mob assault on the united states embassy in cairo where protesters climbed the walls and tore down the american flag. the trouble may have been sparked by a controversial anti-muslim film. now egypt's new president, the veteran muslim brotherhood leader mohamed morsi has finally released a statement. remarkable though for what he omitted. let's go to cnn's ian lee joining us from cairo. ian, what did president morsi say? >> reporter: well, wolf, i'm going to read you a bit. and i want to put it in two sections. first, i'm going to talk about what president morsi said about the film. and then i'm going to talk about what he said about those going into the embassy. first, again about the film.
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he says the presidency condemns in the strongest terms the attempt of a group to insult the place of the messenger the prophet. this is about the film. he said the presidency also confirms that the egyptian government is responsible to protect private and public properties in diplomatic missions in addition to embassy headquarters of various countries. basically, that second sentence not the strong condemnation we saw in the first. basically stating the obvious that every country has the duty to protect foreign missions in their country. so this is a strange -- a mere opposite really, of the first statements where he condemns the film and then hasn't really come out and condemned the protest. although we did see the prime minister and the foreign ministry come out against the protesters breaking into the embassy. but still pretty soft tone from the president, wolf. >> glaring omission from that
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carefully written statement that took them a long time to release. are you getting any indication, ian, that what happened in cairo was actually coordinated with the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya? >> reporter: well, wolf, the more we're learning about what happened in benghazi, the more it seems like these were not coordinated at all. when i was on the ground at the embassy last night, it seemed more like passion, the crowd was passionate. they were going in to the embassy not really any organization to it. mainly it seemed like they were hul begans going in with some islamists to take down the american flag. really it reminded me more of the break into the embassy -- the israeli embassy, almost a year ago that we saw happen when they also broke into that embassy. that's what it reminded me more
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of. not something that was coordinated with libya. >> here's what concerns me and a lot of others in washington, ian, and especially those of us who have spent time in cairo. there's a strong military there. a strong police presence. if they really had any indications this was about to happen, they easily could have taken steps to prevent those demonstrators from climbing those high walls and getting into the embassy compound. and here's the question, where were they? why weren't they doing their job to protect this foreign diplomatic mission? >> reporter: well, wolf, we actually talked to both the ministry of interior, which is in charge of the police. and we talked to the military. and the first ministry of interior said that they were basically unprepared and they were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers that showed up. and if you go to the u.s. embassy on any other day, there is a heavy police presence and military presence there. and the police said they were just caught off guard even though they had warning of days
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before that a protest would take place. now, the military said that their presence there was to stop any sort of assault that was similar to what we saw in libya. they said if militants were to attack with weapons, then the military would step in. but they said they're not trained to deal with riots and large mobs. they said that's the responsibility of the police. and i asked the military said why didn't the police respond or have it set up before the protest. and they basically said that the police were unprepared for this. >> they certainly were. all right, thanks very much, ian lee, our man on the scene in cairo. the brazen and deadly attack in libya has many people here in the united states asking this question, how could this have happened? we're going to get some answers. that's next.
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the u.s. ambassador chris stevens worked to help rebuild libya after the revolution. for secretary of state hillary clinton, that only makes his death harder to comprehend. listen to this. >> today, many americans are asking indeed i asked myself, how could this happen? how could this happen in a country we helped liberate in a city we helped save from destruction? this question reflects just how complicated and at times how confounding the world can be.
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but we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. this was an attack by a small and savage group. not the people or government of libya. >> joining us now is professor, senior fellow at the hoover institution. professor, thanks very much for coming in. let me ask you the question that the secretary of state just asked. how could this happen in a country that ambassador stevens helped liberate? >> you know, wolf, this region as you know so well is full of heartbreak and full of surprises. and i think secretary clinton said it right when you think of the legacy of ambassador stevens going to benghazi and when you think of the american effort to protect benghazi when that horrible dictator, moammar gadhafi put benghazi on notice that he's on his way to benghazi to hunt the people of benghazi to hunt them down, house by
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house, street by street, alleyway by alleyway, as he put it. and then this fine -- devoted his life to this region being gunned downindeed. we don't know who is responsible. we've heard various speculation. the chairman of the house intelligence committee thinks it has some fingerprints of al qaeda or at least al qaeda-inspired affiliate operation. what do you think? >> you know, wolf, i think we have to remember that al qaeda had deep presence, actually, in libya, and we go back to the infiltration of al qaeda into iraq a while ago. a few years ago. what we learned when the americans got the documents, the computer records of the jihadists, they captured records and what they learned is the largest group of jihadists came from saudi arabia. the second largest group came
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from libya. so there has always been an al qaeda presence in libya. there was a presence that gadhafi occasionally used in the fashion of the dictators of the arab world. they could wink at terrorism when it served their purposes. so there is a sustained presence in al qaeda. coincidence or not that this occurred on the anniversary of 9/11. what we suspect is it was really connected to september 11th. and here we are, in fact, we are declaring victory if you will. and everybody has been reminding ourselves that osama bin laden is dead. osama bin laden is dead. but bin laden is still alive. and his deputy is still around. and so you have to wonder why pick that particular date? and i don't give that much
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credence to the fact that this was connected to this ridiculous and vile movie that was made about the prophet. these groups, these kinds of groups, look f any incident. they look for the cartoon crisis. they look for the -- they look for the release of this movie. they look for whatever reverend jones in florida does. they're never without reasons to do the deeds that they do. >>nd what do you make of the mob attack on the united states embassy in cairo? and you've been there many times. and the statement that mohammed morsi gave today that did not have one word of condemnation. >> i saw morsi go to iran. we all watched him when he went to iran about ten days or so ago. and he spoke passionately condemning the syrian regime right in front of the iranians.
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he spoke about the oppression of the syrian people. none of that passion. none of that conviction was in that statement. that statement is a disgrace. that statement, i think, is not worthy of an ally. it's not worthy of a country that's been the recipient of american aid for something like four decades. we need to talk to president morsi about that. >> as you well know, fouad, so much is at stake in that relationship. are you concerned? >> i am, i am. and we've talked about this on your program many times. are we now disappointed in the rebellion in egypt of the topple of hosni mubarak. mush that was wrong came our way during the time of the dictators. we should remember that 9/11 -- that 9/11 was the gift, in many ways, of the dictator.
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when we saw the son of an e egyptian lawyer. things have been wrong long before the eruption. we didn't have a good deal with hosni mubarak. now it's easy to say it was better under the dictator. it was terrible then. and it is terrible today. >> should the u.s. congress continue to appropriate $1.5 billion a year in various forms of military -- mostly military, but some economic assistance to egypt? >> you know, i t haven't thought about that fully. the time may have come to be brave. for american policy to risk, if you will, offending the egyptians and to risk calling this relationship for what it is. and to risk going to the egyptians and asking them for an alliance or a friendship worth the investment we have in egypt. we always feared that somehow or
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another we pulled the plug on the egyptian military that all hell would break loose. we should have more courage. we should expect a better deal and a better relationship. >> fouad ajami, as usual, thank you very much. our national security adviser just saw ambassador stevens in libya just two weeks ago. her firsthand account is coming up in our next hour. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] at&t. the nation's largest 4g network. covering 2,000 more 4g cities and towns than verizon. at&t. rethink possible.
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and there are many years ahead. join the millions of members who've chosen an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. go long. insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. i was born with scoliosis. without shriners hospitals, my life would be completely different. they gave me my future back. send your love to the rescue. donate to shriners hospitals, today. jack is back with the cafferty file. jack? >> question this hour. how is the meltdown in the middle east likely to affect the
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presidential election? >> romney looked not ready for prime time. four people die, including our ambassador and he tries to score political points. he proved he has no decency. jim says the middle east will not play a huge role in this year's presidential election. the american public is too concerned ab the economic issues at home to worry about the barbaric acts of the middle east. the only way they'll play a big part in the election is if one of the candidates changes his stance and tells the country to take a hike. my vote will go to that candidate. pete says it could make a difference with independent voters if they look for the truth in how weak president obama has been defending american values and traditions around the globe. his constant apologies to the lunatics in the middle east have weakened our position and image there and embarrassed and insulted americans at home. dan says thanks to mr. romney for pouring fuel on the fire before his facts were known.
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i'm a registered republican, but because of romney putting politics ahead of truth and pay tr patriotism, i plan to change my party affiliation. and david says, by the time november rolls around the other events will occupy our limited attention. you know, what some realty star is doing, baseball will start. if you like to read more, go to cnn.com/caffertyfile orost on the situation room's facebook page. wolf? >> jack, thank you. happening now, new details of the attack that killed the united states ambassador and growing concern about what's next. the movie that's outraging muslims and sparking violence. plus, mitt romney's reaction and the political fallout. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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we begin this hour with chilling new details of the chaos that engulfed the united states consulate in benghazi, libya. this shows a coordinated attack, possibly a terrorist operation that killed four americans, including the the united states ambassador to libya, chris stevens. this afternoon president obama visited stevens' grieving colleagues over at the state department and signed a condolence book. earlier at the the white house he vowed the united states will hunt down the people behind the attack. >> the united states condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. we're working with the government of libya to secure our diplomats. i've also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. make no mistake, we will work with the libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
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>> our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is at the state department with more on how this deadly attack unfolded. what's the latest information, jill, that you're getting? >> wolf, we had that briefing, and they're cautioning that they're dealing with first reports from benghazi and lot of confusion, but here's what we know so far. tuesday night in benghazi, a complex and highly dangerous situation. outside, an anti-american protest. then a group of heavily armed militants, approximately two dozen of them, launched an attack, firing rocket propelled grenades. >> the attack in libya is appears to be a very coordinated military style attack. this was a clear, targeted, planned event. >> according to senior u.s. officials, that ignited a fire inside the consulate. american and libyan security personnel officials say we're forced to fight on two fronts.
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the attackers on the outside, the fire inside. diplomatic sources are beginning to piece together what happened next. officials tell cnn ambassador chris stevens in benghazi on a short visit from the capital tripoli, along with sean smith, in libya on temporary assignment took refuge a safe room with a lead security officer. but the room became filled with smoke. the officer left the room, they say. when he returned, smith was dead. ambassador stevens was missing. one official says stevens and others were trying to escape to the roof. then confusion. stevens got out and somehow ended up at the hospital. unconfirmed reports say he may have been unconscious. his body later was returned to u.s. officials at the benghazi airport. secretary of state hillary clinton praised the libyans who
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she said helped fight off the attackers and carried ambassador stevens' body to the hospital. >> this was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of libya. >> at this point, state department officials believe the attack was planned in advance, but do not believe ambassador stevens was directly targeted. nicholas burns, a former talk state department official, tells cnn, u.s. diplomats are facing an incendiary situation in the middle east. >> the cruel irony here is that the united states is well regarded in libya, and there's a moderate government in place. and this is clearly the actions of an isolated and very small but very vicious terrorist group. and so we've got to protect ourselves from those groups. and we've got to go after them. >> four killed. at least three wounded. they're being taken to an air
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base in germany for treatment, as are the remains of those who died. wolf? >> thanks very much, jill dougherty at the pentagon. swift response to the attack including the deployment of a marine force. chris lawrence is working that part of the story for us. chris, what are you picking up over there? >> well, wolf, we now know the 50 man marine team, the special quick response team is now on the ground in tripoli in there in libya. they're going to be helping beef up security there for the american diplomats who are still in libya as well as helping to evacuate more americans if that becomes necessary. we've also now learned that certain troops and units all around the world have been notified that they may be moved to u.s. embassies around the world to help beef up some of the security there. we believe that only applies to some of the troops that are stationed overseas, not troops back here in the u.s. wolf? >> what about president obama, chris?
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he said that justice will be done. what's going on in that regard? because that suggests to me the u.s. will try to hunt down those responsible for the killing of those americans. either arrest them, detain them or kill them. >> well, the options certainly seem to be falling into place quickly, wolf. we learned today that the u.s. has confirmed that they've been flying drone surveillance flights over libya for several months. but now we're told that those flights will become more focused, looking specifically for that insurgent cell that was behind this attack. and now we're hearing that the u.s. navy is moving two warships to the coast of libya. both of those warships are equipped with missiles. that's important because the tomahawks are guided by the satellite and can be programmed to hit a very specific target. together with the surveillance drones and these missiles, that gives the administration options if it decides to go ahead with an attack. >> i assume they will. thank you very much, chris
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lawrence over at the pentagon. let get more with fran townsend. she was the homeland security adviser for president george p. bu -- george w. bush. she's also a member of the cio internal advisory committee. >> and just last month fran visited libya. first questi is do y hav any indication or any information that this was a premeditated attack on the consulate inlibya, as secretary vage group?d, by a small and what are you pickingup? >> you know, look, i think they're going-- i chaos there. ana lot of thisunfolded over the last 12 to 18 hours. but there n'rom the fks ve happened sort of spon t s sd spontaneo taneously. d there's clearl a group tha
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is a northn affiliate of al qaeda in the area to the east ere ziis, and so it's entirely possible that they were able to taantaf a very ba situation. >> i spoke toike mrogers, the chairman of the hou telligce commiee he said to m speciy this tahe hallmark of an al veeda style do you agreeiththat? >> i tnk it'hard to say that yet, wolf. look, what kno is ansar sz ffil. alaeda is i ti many. the fact that the was a protest, there were shots fired, i don't know that we can say yet that it has the hallmarks of al qaeda. embassy bombings with a big car explosion. maybe thiss the new al qaeda. >> smaller scale. >> as jill dougherty jld
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us, they are just getting first reports out of benghazi. they're working through inrmion right now. you were in libyaust t j eks ago. what was your sense from the situation on the? what was the serity situation like there? >> you know, it's interesting. when y travel to a war zone, a many of our colleagues know, there's a big military paage around ou. although it's war zone, you feel very secure. that was not at all my feeng tripoli. fran i was cominback fm dinner at night. there were multiple check points of malicious, ununiformed, heavily armed. there was a tense feeling when they stopped your car. you didn't know what they were going to ask you or what they were going to say. i raised the issue tw the ambassador, who i saw the next morning for breakfast. chris stevens, who has tragically been killed now. and his frame of reference -- he had been with the rebels in benghazi prior to the fall of the gadhafi regime. so he sort of felt very comfortable. and it was certainly an improvement over the early days of the fighting.
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but he acknowledged that it was going to take time for libyan security forces to integrate the militias into the ranks, get them trained, get them uniformed. so there was a fragility. >> obviously our condolences go out to his family. >> he was beloved. he walked into the hotel where we were having breakfast. the libyans adored him. he loved libya. he had been my control officer on a b 2007 visit when i went to libya. >> what does that mean? >> he was the diplomatic officer responsible for my visit. i was coming from the white house, i was the most senior person at that time to visit gadhafi, and he was responsible for the visit. and so i knew him. he had a deep love and respect for the cotry, for the people of libya, and he was frankly very optimistic, very hopeful about the able of the libyans to form this new government and to secure their own borders and their own people.
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>> everybody says he was very, very optimistic. that's the word you keep hearing. fran, thanks very much. mitt romney is reacting to all of this as well. we're getting a little bit of a political firestorm emerging right now. romney under fire himself even from some fellow republicans. we'll have details of what's going on. you've been busy for a dead man. after you jumped ship in bangkok, i thought i'd lost you. surfing is my life now. but who's going to .... tell the world that priceline has even faster, easier ways to save you money. . . on hotels, flights & cars? you still have it. i'll always have it. so this is it? we'll see where the waves take me. sayonara, brah!
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mitt romney is facting criticism even from fellow republicans for his politically charged reaction to the attacks on the american outpost. jim acosta is joining us now. what's the latest with this uproar involving romney and his reaction. >> mitt romney initially said he would not criticize the president. then he released a statement blasting his handling of the diplomatic attacks in the middle
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east. as one republican stat gist put it this could be the game changer of the 2012 campaign. it was a high stakes moment for his campaign and mitt romney double downed. accusing the president of showing weakness on the world stage in the hours after the killings of american diplomats overseas. >> i think it's a -- a terrible course for america to apologize for our values. >> romney took issue with a statement released by the u.s. embassy in cairo, aimed at calming tensions over a movie that mauked islam. the embassy statement says it condemns the efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. romney said it's disgraceful that obama administration's first response was not to
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condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions. but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks. later it was confirmed the u.s. ambassador to the country was murdered. asked if he spoke to soon, romney blamed the white house for not backing away from the embassy's comments right away. >> they clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement that came from the administration, and the embassy is the administration. >> but romney's administration is dividing republicans. one top adviser to john mccain's 2008 campaign said romney was, quote, too quick to politicize over faulty reporting initially. to quick to politicize the death of foreign service officers. makes him appear not ready. but another top gop strategist, cnn contributor alex castellanos said romney's tough talks could be a game changer. he has no signs to back down and his running mate was just as harsh at a rally in wisconsin. >> if you show weakness, if you
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show moral equivocation, then foreign policy adventurism among our adversaries will increase. >> for the republican ticket it's a running theme romney has returned to time and time again. for romney's book no apology to his foreign policy speeches on the trail. >> in dealings with other nations he's given trust where it's not earned, insult where it's not deserved, and apology where it's not due. >> by contrast, the president made no mention of romney in his remarks. >> we will not waiver to see justice is done for this terrible act. and make no mistake, justice will be done. >> letting fellow democrats handle the response. >> i think he ought to apologize. and i don't think he knows what he's talking about frankly. it's that simple. >> now romney's statement late last night did note the death of an american consulate worker, but as one foreign policy
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adviser to mitt romney told cnn earlier today they acknowledged the death of the ambassador was not known at the time that that statement was released by the campaign, but we should also note, wolf, that mitt romney does not yet receive national security briefings from the white house. that is customarily something that happens during the course of a campaign. >> it's going to happen soon. now technically he's eligible for the briefings no that he's the official nominee of the republican party. jim, thanks very much. kate? >> president obama is firing right back at mitt romney, no surprise. but he's not taking anything from the campaign trail. all energy developmen comes with some risk,
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